Kentucky added an offensive lineman to its impressive, nationally-ranked football recruiting class on Tuesday when Havanah (Fla.) East Gadsden product Derrick Kelly gave his verbal to the Wildcats.
Kelly (6-6, 285) recently attented UK's Saturday Night Primetime Camp. Although he did not participate in drills, the experience gave him an opportunity to get more comfortable with Mark Stoops' staff, as well as speak with other recruits and tour the campus.
"When he came back from that camp, he wanted to commit," said East Gadsden coach Harrison Smith. "He loved it up there - the environment, the honesty of their coaches, and what the other players up there had to say about them. They have an open-door policy. He thought they were good people he could trust.
"They also have a lot of kids from Florida up there, and none of them were homesick. He could tell they love Kentucky. One of their receivers, (A.J.) Legree talked to him about what it's like up there. I think that made him feel at home."
The Cats also got an assist from the alumni ranks. Kelly's cousin is former UK standout Eric Kelly, who starred as a defensive back in Lexington before moving on to an NFL career.
"Derrick got a strong endorsement from him," Smith said. "That made him feel even more comfortable with making his decision."
Kelly was originally contacted by Derrick Ansley, but was primarily recruited by Bradley Dale Peveto, who scouts the Florida Panhandle for the Cats.
"Both really good guys," Smith said. "They did a great job on him. Coach Peveto's personality was big with Derrick."
According to Smith, Kelly had offers from South Carolina, Central Florida, South Florida and "about 12 or 13 other schools." He was also receiving strong interest from the Alabama staff.
"Not a lot of people know about him yet," Smith added. "He's only been playing football a couple of years. He's just scratching the surface of his talent and learning to play the game. He's about 6-6 now and 285 pounds. He's going to be 6-8 and 325 someday once he gets on campus and starts eating and training right. And he's going to be an athletic 6-8, 325. His vertical is almost 30 inches. He comes from a basketball family. Great feet."
Kelly is the second offensive lineman to verbal to UK for 2014, joining Ohio guard Jarrett LaRubbio, and the 19th commitment overall.
Florida OL joins UK's impressive class
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